To go with my online class Fantasy and Science Fiction: The Human Mind, Our Modern World, I started a series of posts listing companion materials in pop culture; I’ve already given some to go with the Week 3 reading, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, but I wanted to add the two vampire stories I’ve liked best, and they are not Stoker’s.
Although I’m not a big fan of the genre, I do still like Barbara Hambly’s Those Who Hunt the Night. It has a plucky, non-submissive heroine with a science background, a Spanish don vampire, and a scientifc approach to vampirism. Best of all, it tackles the idea of otherness more honestly than many books in the genre. Plus I just think that Hambly is very good at characterization, at writing protagonists who are flawed and human, and at depicting romances that are made more poignant for their seemingly prosaic nature. I love all her books, be they fantasy, science fiction or mysteries.
Second, one of the more unusual examples of vampire in literature, guaranteed to really, really be Science Fiction (TM): Canadian author and scientist Peter Watts’ Blindsight. Watts’ short stories and novels can all be downloaded free under Creative Common license if you poke around his site. Blindsight features vampires as the by-product of gene therapy (this is not a spoiler, it’s mentioned in the first chapter). Here is a darkly funny prequel presented by Peter Watts himself in the form of a conference talk on Vampire Domestication — if you appreciate very tongue-in-cheek humour.